Insights
 

I’ve written Science Fiction, Spirituality and Fiction/Fantasy and you are forgiven for thinking that those genres are pretty much incompatible, yet they all deliver tomorrows.


Every tomorrow that I can  imagine will hold people like us. They will also suffer and question why. However, the main difference between us and them is the conviction that they can change their tomorrows, and their destinies.

TO BE BELIEVABLE, TOMORROW MUST ALSO HOLD REAL PEOPLE AND PLACES.

So, let’s take a peek at those big Science Fiction changes first. The SF you are probably familiar with is invariably processed in Hollywood. Those swaggering star-farers will have american-english accents and light sabres. But in real life, tomorrow is going to happen to everyone everywhere and it doesn’t come in some dim and distant future. Tomorrow means tomorrow.


That’s why I chose Grace Reid as my Catalysis protagonist. She can’t fly airplanes and has no idea what a black hole is, unless it’s an unmarked manhole with a missing cover in some unlit side street. Grace is a troubled teenager who lived in Ireland before being institutionalised in Britain as the Global Economy falters, which is pretty much today. ‘They’ tell her she is mentally challenged, but that doesn’t stop her from joining the rest of us in having her own unique vision of tomorrow. She wants that future badly.


The thing is, Grace better equipped than most in visualising tomorrow because she can see much further than you and I. In her quest, she is joined by people who speak Amharic, Arabic, Russian, Hindi, French, Chinese, Spanish, Ukrainian, Yiddish, Japanese, Somali and English amongst many other languages.  She is way too immature to resemble any typical SF female stereotypes, but she does have a determination that some would perceive as stubbornness and possibly even borderline insanity.


Catalysis landscapes are as exotic as the languages spoken by the characters, so we sweep across the globe before venturing further afield, but even then, we need to keep everything very real. Frighteningly real because space is no place for the faint hearted, even those who carry theirs on the other side of their bodies.


By a strange coincidence, it seems that artificial intelligences have much in common with challenged people, but there has to be a logical reason for that and of course, there is.  The version of tomorrow that Grace’s wants all of us to wake up to is truly vast, but that’s still nowhere near as vast as the one that destiny provides. 


Welcome to real, thinking people’s Science Fiction where nothing happens by magic, not even Destiny Itself.

The quest for a better tomorrow is something that everyone would like to share.

So, my multiple genres are simply gauges of how much we are prepared to change. Spirituality is a modest beginning, in which we examine possible changes to ourselves. In fiction, changing tomorrows is routine. In my brand of Science Fiction however, all possibilities always exist. Then, when I firmly root the stories in our real world, there are outcomes that are sure to affect everyone.

This is me on the other side of the Emerald Isle to  where I left Lugh’s altar. This is the North Bull Island in Dublin. That storm coming up behind me is a reminder to myself that if change is on the horizon, then it’s probably close enough to demand a decision. That decision can sometimes be as bad as we are, but it’s still better than letting Destiny, or someone else decide for us.

I know you are busy but if you can drop what you are doing for just two minutes to come with me, your world will not end and you will have learned something very important.


Thank you so much and by the way, I do register your mental complaint about this picture quality and you are so right. It’s way below the standard of those I pinned elsewhere, but I have a really good reason for using it and that’s what I wanted to share with you.


By the way, you’ll know when you have the definitive bad picture when it actually looks better every time you shrink it. Haha - but let’s hold that thought while you read the next three small paragraphs.


Science is only now proposing what the older orders of Celts wove into their poetry, music, song and dance more than two thousand years ago.


They knew that what we see and touch is not always the solid stuff that our physical 3D conditioning would have us believe. There are higher dimensions that are only sometime visible to us. In its most simplistic forms they just need our deliberate and sometimes trained focus to detect.


This Celt sees physicality as a very thin veneer through which we can sometimes pass, or even fall, into the much bigger reality outside. Celtic tradition is full of such ‘mystical’ accounts, but that doesn’t make them mythical. It makes them metaphysical, which is something beyond physics but also something that exists, somewhere or sometime. We just need to look out for it and stop when we see it, like Deja-vu.


Anyway, back to my poor picture, which was supposed to capture the Atlantic Ocean, off the Irish west coast at County Clare, in imminent sunset and it does ... if you meet me halfway.


If you can overlook the poor quality and look instead at what was captured, you’ll see how I was tempted to visualise a Deity or some ‘Metaphysical Being’. This ‘God-Like Entity’ could have heard a faint and possibly desperate plea for Supreme Intervention. Can you imagine ‘It’ parting the clouds on one of His/Her/Its worlds to find the source of that feeble voice.


What I saw here was either a slowly roving shaft of sunlight that such a ‘Being’ might use to search the comparative darkness of our physical world, or simply the reflected brilliance of that ‘Being’ as ‘It’ drew closer to us, possibly to listen.


So I had to look deeper, but squinted eyes weren’t up to the job. I had to use my thinking eye to peer through that soft thin membrane that holds everything inside it against the vastness of infinity and then ask. What could possibly lie out there on such a nondescript patch of cold ocean that could be of any interest to such a clearly ‘Luminous Being’?


Sometimes the harder you think, the harder it is to grind out an answer. When I eased up and let that answer unravel at its own peculiar pace, it arrived with the softness of summer drizzle. It was a revelation as subtle as it was humbling. To warrant such an ‘Other Worldly Intrusion’, there would have to be something critical to both worlds or both realities out there on the sea. Now when you really think about it, the only thing that could cross that unfathomable divide intact, would be ‘Hope’.


We all know what hope is because we use it, some more than others. But if we had a really big hope and we needed to send it up (It’s always up - isn’t it?) to the same altruistic ‘Being’, who occasionally scans the physical worlds for such petitions before withdrawing to consider them, we might need to put it in a special package like a prayer. That’s the only way we could be sure that it gets a hearing, right?


Hope is very real, but it’s also a very abstract ‘thing’. As fully paid up and life long members of humanity, we are each naturally empowered to fulfil the smaller hopes of each another, if we are so inclined. The really big stuff would have to be processed by that much bigger ‘Entity’ to ‘Whom’ it would have to be specifically addressed.


The only way that our occasionally unrealistic hopes could become supercharged with the seed of their own self-fulfilment, would be to close our eyes and then push them upwards with all our mental might. Now that should jump them to the front of the queue where they should be heard above and before all other petitions by the ‘Guy’ with the light.


Then, like you, I had to drop the subject for a while and go about the more practical business of living in the real world for a living. The fact of leaving those kind of ethereal thoughts behind me was like coming down from mild euphoria, to where we are conditioned to forget such ‘nonsense’.


The neoliberal global economy doesn’t do thoughts that are not about money. Everything else is discarded like autumn leaves that often reach dizzying heights once blown free of their branches, but they are soon brought down to Earth to pile up in layers. Then they are forgotten under the build-up of our daily detritus.


It’s only much later that we’ll accidentally expose them but they will look very different. Those sinewy but delicately transparent skeletons will be found while digging into the bottom of the pile, usually looking for something one of the kids has lost.


So, just like forgotten leaves and long after the fact of first entertaining such pure thoughts, we’ll have trouble finding the time to fully recall them back into our physical world again. That’s because they’ll continue to decay at the same merciless rate until there is nothing left of them but the frown of knowing they are lost. Unless of course, we can somehow preserve them, maybe by placing them between the pages of a book, as the older people and kids sometimes do.


So I decided to do just that. That fleeting but powerful aspect of hope that was triggered by my bad picture might have taken the scenic route, but it eventually followed me home from the west coast. It somewhat miraculously stayed on top of my pile of disintegrating leaves, like it just refused to be forgotten. So I was compelled to write about it for posterity.


In my first book :- 'Book of Plebs’, I included a small aside in Chapter 15 and called it - ‘Hope Waits’ - It’s a diversionary short story, a small and hopefully welcome break from the mental application of searching for physical evidence of a metaphysical Deity. Tough work, take my word.


In that chapter, a possibly pre - Celtic tribe in ancient Ireland are being hard pressed on two borders by their enemies. It seems they had plenty of hope at one time, but they watched it sail away from the place I captured in my picture. They called that rocky shore Slandu. When translated to English, it means (The) ‘Dark Farewell’, and it was called that for the good reason that hope was apparently waved off from there a number of times.

 

You can almost see the place where Hope would have been pushed out from the sandy beach below the rocks and to the far left of the frame. Just around that point there’s a small sheltered bay which they called Derrateer, or ‘The last (End) of land.’ Anyway, on a quiet evening very much like the one shown in my picture, Hope slipped quietly and unceremoniously into the darkening expanse of the great ocean beyond what was effectively the last land.  The Americas were not yet a rumour.  


I like to think it may have been illuminated for a few minutes by that shaft of evening sunlight, just as the sails caught the off-shore breeze to nudge it on its way. In my short story, Hope didn’t return for three more years.

 

You might be able to see the ancient ring fort on the shore at the bottom right, but what you can't see is Sliolar or ‘Eagle Mountain', which is behind the vantage point from which I took the picture. Sliolar rises from the southern end of the peninsula and at its summit is an altar dedicated to Lugh, ‘Who’ was a very August Deity of the time.


Lugh’s shrine was built inside a stone cairn that takes the form of a small artificial cave. From the flat ledge just outside that inner sanctum, there’s a commanding view of a sizeable expanse of ocean. That would probably explain why the Ancients built Lugh’s shrine there, so ‘He’ could survey at least a small physical part of 'His' vast domain.

 

The Tuahdae tribe built the cave, just as they built a similar but larger cairn on top of Crohanard on the mainland further to the east. They used that high place for their Chieftains’ Tombs. It overlooks the narrow channel towards Sliolar, Lugh’s altar, and the endless sea beyond.


While attempting to climb up there in the dark, the warrior woman Grufiacra of Naman was injured and the umpire, or Mark, declared her unable to continue her race, though she was far from happy about that. Being a Naman warrior can sometimes make for a very stubborn as well as capable breed of woman.

 

Crimor, ‘Big Heart’, has seen this place only twice in reality, but countless times in his dreams as he waits for Hope to return. He has found that sometimes he can venture out after it in his dreams, which seems to be enough to keep it alive somewhere.


With Grufiacra injured, he finds himself joint favourite to win the same endurance race that will end at Lugh’s altar. The winner can expect to collect the Fanor, or gold ring. The gold can be kept as a trophy, used as a dowry, or exchanged for the black bull calf. 

 

Further detail is now irrelevant however, because 'Book of Plebs' is not about the Celts, their Gods, nor Crimor. It is also not about endurance racing nor stubborn women, but it has a lot to do with ‘Hope’. You will find that particular chapter precisely as I described it, but I also took this opportunity to let you see how a rather poor picture, taken with a broken camera can become something special when viewed not through the lens but with fearless imagination. Because that’s how I hope you will judge this book, which is my first work.

 

Hope Waits,’ is only one of a number of minor diversions on a much greater journey that any one of us could be compelled to take, without a moment’s notice.


Book of Plebs - is an extraordinary journey by a very ordinary person, with a bad camera.

Then we have the smaller, purely personal changes that strangely enough, will take a little longer to explain.


I brought this little picture to help me explain, because even our metaphysical tomorrows must be kept very real.

WE CAN CREATE IMPOSSIBLE BUT CREDIBLE TOMORROWS, ONCE WE PUT REAL PEOPLE AND PLACES INTO THEM.